When assembling a bicycle, the main components are its frame, seat, and wheels. The seat posts are generally made of steel or aluminum alloy and are bolted into place. The saddle, a piece of molded padding or nylon, sits atop the head tube. It also provides the bicycle with some rigidity. The bicycle’s pedal mechanism is attached to the frame by a crankset, which is made up of a chain ring, bottom bracket assembly, and axle and cup. The crankset is the heart of a bicycle and transfers power from the pedals to the chain.
Bicycles have undergone many changes over the centuries, from the initial bicycle design to the current design. Today’s bicycles feature adjustable handlebars and handbrakes, and there are special seats for women and men. Manufacturers also use lighter materials, such as carbon fiber and aluminum, to create bicycles that are more durable. And while most bicycles were originally made of wood, modern-day ones are more advanced. Bicycles can be as light as four pounds!
The 1860s was an important decade for bicycle design. Major innovations in the design of bicycles include ball-bearing hubs, metal-spoked wheels, and chain-driven differential gears. One of the most notable bicycles of the time, the Starley Rover, was the first practical bicycle, with its large front wheel and center pivot steering. Its widespread popularity led to the creation of bicycle clubs and competitive races. Thomas Stevens famously rode a high-wheeler bicycle around the world in 1884.
The triangular shape of the frame of a bicycle was chosen to distribute the cyclist’s weight evenly between the front and back wheels. Because the cyclist leans forward to hold the handlebars, the triangular frame distributes his weight evenly across the front and back wheels. Otherwise, the cyclist would end up head-over-heels or tipping backward. In fact, all weight on the back wheel would cause the cyclist to fall, while his body weight would be leaning forward as he rode.
Bicycle design has also improved tremendously in the last century. The bicycle is the most efficient means of transportation by human beings. Bicycle pedals transmit nearly all of the energy to the wheels, converting ninety percent of the energy into kinetic energy. By comparison, a car would only use 5% of the energy it receives from a car engine. Hence, the bicycle is an environmentally-friendly alternative to driving. And, as it is a renewable source of energy, it has a low environmental impact.
A bicyclist has to observe the laws on bicycling. While riding a bicycle, he must be observant about his rights. The law requires him to wear a safety vest when riding. It is also important for him to understand that the laws regarding bicycle riding differ from those for driving vehicles. Bicycle riders should check the parts of their bicycle and ensure that they are functioning properly. And if a bicyclist is cited, he should immediately dismount and exit the bicycle.